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Land Categorisation Hawke's Bay


In February 2023, Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay faced devastation and loss from Cyclone Gabrielle – one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Across the region, our communities have endured significant impact to their lives, livelihoods, whānau, homes, farms, orchards, vineyards and neighbourhoods.

Since then, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and the Government’s Cyclone Recovery Taskforce have been assessing future severe weather risk in areas across the region. 

It is important to note that this is uncharted territory for how Aotearoa New Zealand deals with natural disasters of this scale. Any decisions made must have future and inter-generational safety at their heart and, while we may not yet have all the answers, we are committed to sharing what we do know, when we know ir.

The information on this website is the best available information based on what is known at the time and will continue to be updated on a regular basis.

Provisional land categorisations

The information below has been prepared to help you understand the land categories, the process to date, and the process going forward, including what the next steps are.

What ‘risk’ are you assessing?

The risk assessment process has been used to build a picture of how likely it is that future severe weather events may pose a risk to life and, where there is risk, if there is a way this risk may be managed to provide as much assurance as possible that it is safe for people to live in the area.

What are the categories, and what do they mean?

The Government established three main categories which have been used to determine the future severe weather risk for specific areas across Hawke’s Bay and other areas across the North Island impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle:

Initial risk categories and definitions:

Category Definitions Examples
1 Repair to previous state is all that is required to manage future severe weather risk event. Minor flood damage to repair but no need for significant redesign/retrofitting.
2C* The outcome of quality assurance of existing stop bank rebuilds may see the categorisation change to a 1, which has the following definition: ‘Repair [dwelling] to previous state is all that is required to manage future severe weather risk event.’ As above.
2C Community level interventions are effective in managing future severe weather risk event. Local government repairs and enhances flood protection schemes to adequately manage the risk of future flooding events in the face of climate change effects.
2P Property level interventions are needed to manage future severe weather event risk, including in tandem with community level interventions. Property specific measures are necessary e.g. improved drainage, raising houses is necessary. Benefits accrue to property owners but some may face affordability issues.
2A Potential to fall within 2C/2P but significant further assessment required. Interventions may be required/possible but insufficient information to provide initial categorisation (these may subsequently move between "2" and categories or to categories 1/3).
3 Future severe weather event risk cannot be sufficiently mitigated. In some cases some current land uses may remain acceptable, while for others there is intolerable risk of injury or death. In the face of enhanced climate risks the property may face unacceptable risk of future flooding. Other property could be subject to unstable land that poses an ongoing risk.

Council and their roles

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

The Regional Council’s role in the process is to gather technical data,  assess future severe weather event risk in impacted areas across the region, and make land categorisation decisions. 

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and Wairoa District Council

Together, the role of the region’s city and district councils is to deliver a locally-led process, particularly engagement, supported by regional and central agencies. 

What happens next?

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is in the process of final reviews of Category 3 areas, both in the light of technical information and requests for reassessment. It is expected that final Category 3 information will be available by the end of September 2023.

Category 1

Those with properties located in Category 1 areas that were damaged because of the Cyclone can now move on with their recovery.

This may include repairing or rebuilding your property, at the same site, should you wish to do so. These repairs can take place using your private insurance if you have it. There are building consent exemptions in place to make it easier and faster, and you can find out more about these exemptions from your local Council.

Please note that identification of a property as being located in a Category 1 area is not an assurance that it will never be impacted by future severe weather events.

Category 2 

In Category 2 areas, risk mitigation may be required at either a community or a property-specific level in order for the area to be safe to live.

For Category 2C* properties, the outcome of quality assurance of existing stop bank rebuilds has seen many 2C* areas recategorised to a 1. This process continues for the remaining 2C* areas. 

For Category 2A, 2C and 2P properties, your local Council will continue to communicate with you directly regarding any community meetings and/or next steps.

Category 3

In Category 3 areas, a currently unacceptable level of future risk means it may no longer be safe for people to live there.

It is important to note that each Category 2 and Category 3 area is unique and influenced by a range of different factors. Since provisional categorisations were announced in June, Councils have been working to gather further information from a variety of sources, including the affected community, before final decisions are made (expected to be the end of September 2023).

How communities can be involved

Councils will continue to advise affected areas and property owners of opportunities to engage. In particular, direct communications to affected property owners will continue regularly.

How the Government’s categorisation framework has been applied

The following information has been released by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and is designed to help you understand how the Government’s categorisation framework has been applied:

For information on the Hastings District Council and Napier City Council Category 3 Voluntary Buy-out Programme visit this page of the website.

Where to get help

We acknowledge the uncertainty about what is happening with your property and your community may be challenging. 

There is support available for you and your whānau if you need it, including:

  • Log on to to find a service close to you.
  • Call or text Need to Talk 1737 any time to talk with a trained counsellor.
  • At most general practices you can phone and book in to see a Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP), a registered mental health professional who provides advice and support promoting self-management, and connects people to other services they may need. Every day, HIPs have appointments that are not pre-booked so you can phone a general practice where you are enrolled and book in on that day.
  • The Depression Helpline – Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions.
  • Youthline – Call 0800 376 633, text 234, email, or go to for an online chat.
  • The Lowdown – Text 5626 for support to help young people recognise and understand depression or anxiety.
  • Healthline – Call 0800 611 116 for health advice and information.
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline – Call 0800 787 797 to speak with a trained counsellor.
  • Tips and support, go to
  • You can download the Groov and Headstrong wellbeing apps free for android and Apple phones. Just go to Google Play or the Apple app store.
  • Rural Support Trusts – a local Rural Support Trust (RST) is a great place to access free and confidential support and advice. This nationwide network, run by local people, helps farming families and rural communities. RSTs have facilitators trained to recognise issues with mental health and wellbeing. They can also put you in touch with services including health information or financial support. You can give them a call to talk through your options. Call 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) to arrange a free and confidential chat at a place that suits you, or visit
  • Farmstrong – Farmstrong is a nationwide wellbeing programme for the rural community. Their aim is to help you live well to farm well. On their website you can find a range of resources to help you manage your wellbeing. Visit

For more information

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’d like to speak to someone about any of the information on this page, please contact 0800 117 672 between 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am - 2pm weekends and public holidays.

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